Credit cards have for a long time provided multiple ways to redeem rewards — cash back, statement credits, merchandise, gift cards, and point transfers to airlines or hotels.
But card issuers have traditionally dictated how you earn rewards in the first place. Your card would earn 3 points per dollar at gas stations, for example. If you don’t spend much on gas, the card doesn’t do much for you.
Overall, customized rewards are a win for consumers, especially if the card automatically adjusts the bonus category to match your spending. But some have a notable downside: You have to actively and regularly choose your bonus categories, which means trying to anticipate where you’ll spend the most money. That’s more effort than some consumers are willing to exert.